- Funes el memorioso, Borges
I am sitting in my friend's living room.
We have a fledgling business, and she is asking me "What is the first step?" but I don't know how to answer.
I'm an idea person.
What I'm not is someone who knows how to implement my own vision. My dreams are islands in the middle of an ocean. I know they are there, but I have no idea how to reach them. I skim the surface and decide to stay immobile on my current path.
She is still waiting for my answer.
I lay my head down at night and plan hope for the future.
I want to talk about Orlando. I want to discuss how even public space dedicated to a minority community isn't safe.
I want to talk about how vulnerable these two communities are, how their struggles are pitted against each other in our political sphere.
I want to talk about how guns attract violence, how sick I am of this country's obsession, how we are all armed to the teeth and it never saves us.
It will not save us.
I look at my children and find myself hoping for one second that they are completely average, straight and white, and knowing that even then it won't save them; they are women.
That one second is fucked up. That one second is so much privilege talking.
I want to talk theory. Any theory. Political linguistics. Feminism. Queer. Something intersectional. I don't pray and so the theory gives me comfort, but it's still non action.
Pray all you want, but you need to do something. Same with theorizing.
I meet a former roommate. She is a professor of liberation theology. I do not follow the same religion but we speak the same language of ideas.
I lay my head down at night filled with questions.
Instead, I find myself screaming at people changing lanes without using their blinker, and then I understand.
I'm not angry. I am scared.
I cannot control the actions of others and that scares me when I know that so often the actions of others are hurtful, violent actions. People will change lanes and they will not let me know. I can only hope that I am not occupying the space when they decide to take it.
They are destroyers.
So far, my girls and I have been lucky, but someday, we might not be.
I have a student seeking asylum in the United States. She is a human rights lawyer from Venezuela and they shot her son because of her work and I think "I can blend, my children can blend," we can bow our heads and pray to some unknown force and cross our fingers that privilege will cover us.
I lay my head down at night with no thoughts of deity, only my own beating heart and the hearts of my children.
So much suffering.
Sometimes I have no faith in humanity. Humanity will betray, cheat, lie, and still call themselves good people. Humanity will quote the bible and famous lines about being a light in the world, ripped from other facebook posts, ripped from the very first google search result, without knowing the context, the beauty, the depth, without ever having read a single word from the writer.
You aren't light. You are swarms of darkness. You destroy.
I know who I am.
I want to tell you a story.
A woman births a child and feels nothing after. She is lost and afraid. The people around her try to reassure her but she does not hear them.
She lashes out at people who hurt her. Their stories are her stories.
I have created you as someone who destroys and this is a projection of my own blindness.
I am sorry.
I will tell you another.
One night he comes home late. He is sad and alone. He is hurting. I know this, but instead of walking across the divide in our paths, I harden. I turn away.
maybe you shouldn't come home at all.
Time moves forward for me and no one else in this story.
- or -
Time moves, and we all move together towards the forking paths ahead, we weave in and out, we die a thousand times and we find each other again.
- El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan, Borges
Turn this back on myself.
Am I worthy to call myself clean of all these things? Have I chosen my true path?
The way is narrow.
There is an ugliness to me, a darkness, and unchecked it destroys much the same way as those above. We are enemies now, but in reality I am my own enemy and I stare down only myself. In the garden of the forking paths, every path I choose I find pieces of my own suffering and I realize that the ways are all one.
She is my "enemy" but this is an illusion. She is a mirror held to my darkness. I can deflect or I can look and find the lesson.
It means nothing that I've understood the words of writers, philosophers, but I've not reached out to understand someone entwined with me.
She deserves kindness. She deserves to be heard.
And I am the destroyer.
I fight this tendency. I fight to understand what causes me to hurt others instead of help. I hold the mirror up and close my eyes. I ask "is it necessary to look?"
They have caused my suffering, and I, in turn, have caused suffering for others.
Keep looking until it hurts. Keep looking until that pain washes over you and nothing else remains.
I have caused suffering. I have caused suffering and I acknowledge. I turn and I say
darling. darling(s). I suffer. I need help.